Speed and acceleration are not the same thing. Speed is how fast you can sprint at maximum velocity. Acceleration is reaching top speed as quickly as possible. The ability to accelerate means winning loose balls, blowing past defenders and beating out infield hits.
Use these four exercises to get an edge on your competition.
Why it works: It emphasizes high knee drive, which allows the legs to drive more forcefully into the ground for increased acceleration and overall speed.
- With hands against wall and arms parallel to ground, hold body at 45-degree angle
- Keep core and lower back tight with hips forward, forming straight line from head to ankles
- Raise right knee approximately to hip level and flex foot
- March in alternating fashion as quickly as possible
Sets/Duration: 1-3×10 seconds
Why it works: It closely mimics the powerful movement of accelerating from a standstill position. You will explosively drive your legs into the ground to generate speed.
- Stand in relaxed and ready position
- Use exaggerated arm swing backward, then quickly swing arms forward
- Simultaneously explode with legs to jump and propel body forward as far as possible
- Land with stable base; absorb impact by allowing body to return to start position
Arm Swing Drill
Why it works: Proper arm action helps dictate stride frequency, length and efficiency.
- Begin either kneeling or standing with chest upright and arms in running position—one at shoulder level, other near hip
- Drive arms straight forward and back with no side-to-side action
- Keep arms bent at 90-degree angles
Sets/Duration: 1-3×10-30 seconds
Sled Push/Plate Push
Why it works: Sled Pushes force the legs to develop maximum strength in as little time as possible, resulting in a powerful stride for improved acceleration.
- Load sled with 10 percent of bodyweight or use standard weighted plates
- Start with hands on sled and body at 45-degree angle
- Begin sprinting by powerfully driving legs
- Push sled as fast as possible
Sets/Distance: 3-6×10-20 yards